Friday, December 30, 2016

Review of 'The African Doctor' (Bienvenue à Marly-Gomont)

French film about a Zairean doctor who qualifies in Lille, doesn't want to go home to become a personal physician to Mobutu and so takes a job in a grotty town north of Paris. He brings his family out, and his sophisticated and well-dressed wife is disappointed that it's not Paris - she misunderstood his phone call explaining about the new job.

And then it's about the racist reception they get from the town, and how the family eventually wins the populace over - he saves a baby, his daughter turns out to be a brilliant footballer who saves the fortunes of the local team, and so on. And he has to win his wife over to persuade her that they should stay, because she still wants them to move away to somewhere else - maybe the Zairean community in Brussels, where she has family and friends.

It's mostly enjoyable, and was a good family feelgood film for Xmas day, but it was sometimes uncomfortable to watch, because though it's supposed to be an anti-racist film it occasionally resorts to glib stereotypes to illustrate the 'clash of cultures' between the Zaireans and the French.

The epilogue explains that it's a real story, told by the doctor's son who is a Brussels-based rapper.

Watched on our TV via formal Netflix subscription.

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